Picking up from a recent post about creating a great impression, one of the simplest ways for any retail business to make one is to have an impressive sign. The flipside of this is that if your sign is really old or just wrong in some way you’ll make a bad impression, which is probably not any business owner’s goal.

In this post I’m going to highlight a few examples of good and bad signs. The first situation is when a business changes its name. That necessitates new signs. Well, signs usually aren’t cheap, which drives some owners to look for the least expensive way to brand the new name.

Example of bad signage.In this photo you can see that this real estate agency has changed its name. It’s pretty obvious since they chose to get an inexpensive banner and place it right on top of the old sign. Now if the decision was made rapidly and they needed something quick to put up for opening day I could understand this move. However, this banner still hangs over the old sign months later. It’s even worse at night when the old sign lights up and shows through the banner!

Why does the owner want to keep this as the permanent sign for their real estate office? Probably to save money. I wonder how much this money-saving move is costing in the quality of prospective customer impressions? I also wonder how many of the realtors in this office are proud of where they work driving up here every day? This sort of thinking was the genesis of the saying, Penny wise and pound foolish.


Good sign for a restaurant.Now this sign is for a new restaurant that’s opened up in the local area. The owner wanted to make a strong impression on those driving by, which number in the thousands daily. The location is on a major boulevard and faces traffic that’s coming off of a major freeway. I apologize for the quality of this picture as I took it with my BlackBerry from my car.

I think you can see that the sign is lighted up though, which is what makes this a nice sign day or night. I’m sure the owner paid a lot for this sign and could have saved plenty by getting a sign that didn’t sparkle. But, in my opinion it was worth every dime as this sign alone makes me want to see the inside. It must be classy is what goes through my mind when I see this sign.


Sign in front of a mattress store.This sign is an example of how to make a strong impression. It’s big and bold and very easy to see from afar. Again, not an inexpensive sign by any means, but as the store is on a major thoroughfare and next to a large drugstore, gym and supermarket it’s probably worth going the extra mile to get something impressive.

Now that you’ve finished this blog, why don’t you take a look at your sign? Is it making a good impression on your business? Does it beckon people to come inside and have a look? Or does it make people think you don’t care about your business enough to invest in it? Your sign is often what creates the first impression someone will have of your business. If it creates a bad impression and turns people away you won’t even know because it’s very unlikely anyone will take the time to tell you. That’s why I’m telling you now to have a look.


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